It’s a bad idea to try and wish people happiness on the Opinion page of a newspaper. People don’t want to hear about how it’s spring and everything in Isla Vista is green, or how heavenly it is to witness the 10-minute riot of nubile flesh as it floods down the bikepaths before class.
I contemplate this fact as I stare at a blank iMac monitor in the dark Nexus cave. The giant banks of fluorescent office lights are turned off today because of the energy crisis, and I realize the ominous ring to that phrase “energy crisis”: like the world is ending tomorrow.
“Good, that’s the column direction,” I think to myself. “Terror and doom, in all directions.”
There are many ominous things to work myself up about in newspapers today. George W. has publicly stated, “I don’t give an att’s rass about California’s energy problems.” Dick Cheney is saying it’s time for a “fresh look” at nuclear power.
There are lynchings in the east of Texas, 14-year-old teacher-killers in West Palm Beach and a 33-year-old Anchorage man named Jason who tried to slit the throats of four elementary school students on Monday. I turn to the Opinion pages – nothing but rage, terror and doom all the way through.
Yet for some reason the angst won’t come. Maybe it’s the full belly, the nice weather or the pretty girl who knows where I sleep, but the fire and brimstone isn’t there. I decide to procrastinate and play a round of Frisbee golf with three friends.
“God dammit,” I think as I walk under the Pardall bridge to I.V., “This sunshine is no good for my column. Look at how perfect it is. Look at those flowers. Look at those tight, sky-blue capri pants. Capri pants and tube tops. Oh, how I love tube tops.”
I think about losing the position of National Drug Czar to some law and order Republican bitch from Arkansas. “Two million people are locked up in this country! A lot of them are harmless and locked up for stupid drug offenses! God, I hate Bush!” But it doesn’t work. I spot Hempwise and the owner Al shows me these great one-and-a-quarter-inch rolling papers with a wire in them. “I. Have. To. Have. Them.”
I meet up with my friends, show them the new rolling papers and tell them how difficult this week’s column is being. “It’s not like you can just say nice things on the
Opinion page,” I lament. “People want fire and brimstone, baby eating and Nazism.” They agree. You have to be woefully senile or na•ve to express an opinion like, “Have a nice day.”
We golfed. I did well. We tested the quality of my new rolling papers and I started golfing worse. There were flowers and greenness everywhere. One kind of purple flower felt like velvet. My female golfing friend said it was called lilac, and I was suddenly sorry I could recognize the logos of 100 evil corporations, but no more than three types of flowers. Despite the fact, I had a blast and I went par for the course.
I took off my sandals and slowly walked back to the Nexus office. The sun was brilliant. When I arrived and the Opinion editor impatiently inquired as to the status of this column, I told him all I had was a quote from an opinion column George Orwell wrote in the spring of 1946:
“So long as you are not actually ill, hungry, frightened, or immured in a prison or a holiday camp, spring is still spring. The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are still prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going around the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it.”
Have a nice spring day.
Daily Friday editor David Downs seems to have a particularly happy-go-lucky case of spring fever and forgot to write his own damn tagline once again. His column usually appears on Wednesday, but you never can tell.